Jury awards $14M to worker injured in 2012

The Bakersfield Californian

A man injured in an October 2012 industrial accident has been awarded $14.27 million by a Kern County Superior Court jury.
A jury ruled against Live Oak Cogen of Oildale and a number of other businesses on June 17 in favor of Gabriel Escalera, said Escalera’s attorney John C. Hall.
Escalera was injured, Hall said, at the cogeneration power plant north of Bakersfield after he and a second man — Barry Snelson of Oildale — used high pressure air to test the bottom of a water storage tank at the plant for leaks.
The pressurized air caused the tank bottom to fail, Hall said, and set off a chain reaction that threw the two men up into the air, killing Snelson, 54, and injuring Escalera.
Hall said Escalera will likely receive about $4 million of the judgment after reductions to the party’s liability are discussed and finalized.
Snelson’s case was settled earlier. The terms were not disclosed.
The tank is part of a 46 megawatt, natural gas-fired power plant located in an oil field about 1 1/2 miles west of South Granite Road.
In addition to generating electricity, the facility sells steam for heavy oil production nearby.